Prenatal multivitamin may protect child from cancer

September 3, 2002 in Cancer Prevention, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Prenatal multivitamin may protect child from cancer

Women who take vitamin and mineral pills before and during pregnancy may reduce the risk that their baby will develop a cancer of the nervous system called neuroblastoma. Neuroblastomas are highly malignant tumors that arise in nervous system tissue and are usually diagnosed in infants or young children. The tumors spread rapidly to the lymph nodes, liver, lung and bone.

Many studies have shown that regular vitamin use by moms-to-be can reduce the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and cleft palate. One previous study also suggested that women who use vitamins while pregnant may reduce their child's risk of developing neuroblastoma.

Researchers from the Children's Oncology Group in Arcadia, California interviewed 538 women, each with a child who developed neuroblastoma before the age of 19, about their vitamin and mineral use. The women were compared with 504 mothers whose children did not have the disease. Daily vitamin and mineral use in the month before pregnancy and in each trimester was associated with a 30% to 40% reduction in the risk of neuroblastoma.

The researchers are calling for more research on the relationship between a pregnant woman's vitamin use and her child's neuroblastoma risk.

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